Lantasia: Indigenous stories illuminating the night
Early autumn in Melbourne is without doubt the most magical time of the year. Finally our ‘four seasons in one day’ weather decides to settle on being consistently sunny, and we Melburnians embrace the opportunity to leave our layers behind and get out and about.
One of the best experiences my family and I have discovered this autumn is the exhibition of outdoor lanterns called ‘Lantasia Dreaming’. It really does live up to its tagline of ‘magic at dusk on the Mornington Peninsula’, as over 80 handcrafted silk lantern sculptures are illuminated, transforming the area into a realm of fantasy and tranquillity.
From 6pm until 10pm, as the sun sets, the enchantment begins. The lights of the stunning silk sculptures switch on and reveal dozens of animal lanterns in all shapes and sizes hidden amongst the natural landscape of the Boneo Maze in Fingal.
Take a walk through the atmospheric paths and boardwalks, over the lakes and waterways – it really does feel like you’re in another time and place. You’ll encounter Dreamtime characters including the elder wombat, Waa the wise crow, the heroic eagle Bunjil, and the thirsty frog Tiddalik amongst many others.
Dotted along the way are storyboards where you can read about the tales that represent the beginning of knowledge and the world’s creation, as understood by the traditional Indigenous landowners. Lights and sounds also help guide you through this mesmerising display, with sculptures ranging from 3-metres high to small but super-cute critters hidden in the gardens just waiting to be discovered.
Kids’ imaginations will be fired up and the sense of excitement as darkness falls is palpable. It’s a rare chance for adventure and easy physical activity that the whole family can participate in, learn from and enjoy, no matter the ages. You can even make a complete evening of it and have dinner at the Boneo Maze before heading out on the walk.
This is the second year that these new, specially designed sculptures have been created, and it’s an enchanting journey through a night garden that’s firmly on our annual family calendar now.
For Lantasia Dreaming’s extended opening hours during the upcoming school holidays, visit the website at https://www.lantasia.com.au and be prepared to shimmer your way through a fabulous experience that will leave you with stunning photos and great memories.